In an effort to drum up sales on the rails, the UK Government is launching “The Great British Rail Sale“.
Well, that sounds fine and dandy in a headline. What are the catches though?
So first up are some of the savings, with the promise of over one million rail tickets will be slashed by up to 50%.
Highlighted examples include:
- York to Leeds: was £5.60, now £2.80
- London to Edinburgh: was £44, now £22
- London to Cardiff: was £47, now £25
- Wolverhampton to Liverpool: was £10.50, now £5.25
- Manchester to Newcastle: was £20.60, now £10.30
- Birmingham New Street to Bristol Temple Meads: was £25.30, now £12.60
- Portsmouth Harbour to Penzance was £45.70, now £22.00
Tickets go on sale from 19 April with discounted tickets available on journeys from 25 April to 27 May. You will need to book by 2nd May.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:
For the first time ever, operators across the rail industry are coming together to help passengers facing rising costs of living by offering up to 50% off more than a million tickets on journeys across Britain.
There’s no better time to visit friends, family or just explore our great country, so book your tickets today.
He also appeared in a truly cringe-worthy video via his preferred media of dissemination, Twitter.
To help with the cost of living, we’re selling over 1 million rail tickets at up to ½ price for trips from 25 Apr to 27 May 🎫
After 2 yrs of living life virtually, the Great British Rail Sale🚆 starts today.
— Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP (@grantshapps) April 19, 2022
Jacqueline Starr, CEO of the Rail Delivery Group, said:
We want everyone to be able to benefit from travelling by train because it’s more than just a journey, it’s a way to connect everyone to the people, places and things they love.
As part of the Great British Rail Sale customers will enjoy over one million discounted tickets, so they can explore some of the fantastic locations that are accessible by rail.
What are the catches?
For those who think this is all well and good, let’s head onto the catches – and they are plenty of them.
Applies to Advance and Off-Peak only
The big kicker to this applies to advance and off-peak tickets only. It does not apply to seasons tickets – stuffing commuters with a 3.8% rise which they still have to pay for. Which isn’t nice at all.
Limited booking period
Whilst there’s a long travel date, the booking window is small, between 19th April and 2nd May. , for travel between 25 April 2022 and 27 May 2022. A one-day advance purchase window is required.
Check the dates
Two important sets of dates are not covered in this. Specifically:
- Spring Half-Term (Covering 30th May through to 3rd June)
- The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Central Weekend (Covering 2nd June – 4th June).
So, those of you who are planning to pop into London to enjoy the festivities or enjoy family travels at these times will be paying full price (although a family railcard might help).
Don’t even think of stepping in 1st Class
The promotion is limited to Standard Class tickets primarily. Some participating Operating Companies may offer First Class or Standard Premier tickets, but numbers may be limited and are offered solely at the discretion of the participating Train Company.
In other words, hunt before you buy.
Any other discounts?
Railcard discounts will apply to those who hold them.
Where are the full terms and conditions?
I’m so glad you asked. Hidden away at Great British Rail Sale (and scroll to find them).
It’s a start… but nowhere near enough
With year-on-year of constant price increases on the railways, pricing people off the rails has been an activity of any government in the past 20 years.
And a quick sale like this isn’t going to undo this overnight, nor generate the goodwill that the government seeks to build.
As the government tries to coax people out of their homes and back into offices, root and branch fare reform is needed to adjust to how people are working today, to discount appropriately for frequent users… and to invest in the railways.
Because there’s one quick way to scare any politician. Force them to back a railway electrification project. Thats enough to send most into hiding.
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